Chromosomal Speciation Revisited: Modes of Diversification in Australian Morabine Grasshoppers (Vandiemenella, viatica Species Group)
MDPI AG -- Insects
DOI 10.3390/insects2010049
  1. chromosomal rearrangements
  2. hybridization
  3. mtDNA introgression
  4. phylogeography
  5. population genetics
  6. selection
  7. speciation

Chromosomal rearrangements can alter the rate and patterns of gene flow within or between species through a reduction in the fitness of chromosomal hybrids or by reducing recombination rates in rearranged areas of the genome. This concept, together with the observation that many species have structural variation in chromosomes, has led to the theory that the rearrangements may play a direct role in promoting speciation. Australian morabine grasshoppers (genus Vandiemenella, viatica species group) are an excellent model for studying the role of chromosomal rearrangement in speciation because they show extensive chromosomal variation, parapatric distribution patterns, and narrow hybrid zones at their boundaries. This species group stimulated development of one of the classic chromosomal speciation models, the stasipatric speciation model proposed by White in 1968. Our population genetic and phylogeographic analyses revealed extensive non-monophyly of chromosomal races along with historical and on-going gene introgression between them. These findings suggest that geographical isolation leading to the fixation of chromosomal variants in different geographic regions, followed by secondary contact, resulted in the present day parapatric distributions of chromosomal races. The significance of chromosomal rearrangements in the diversification of the viatica species group can be explored by comparing patterns of genetic differentiation between rearranged and co-linear parts of the genome.